Friday, August 29, 2014

First Friday Freebit from Crewkin

Crewkin is one of my favorite stories and deals with a possible future scenario where corporations use gene manipulation, brainwashing during childhood, and intense education to make their ship crews. The resulting adults are little more than slaves. The captain and senior officers were 'doms.' All other crew 'subs.'

These crews, who spend their lives on one ship in deep space became known as crewkin. In developing such a restricted social group, one result became the inability of crewkin to reintegrate into society as a whole, so if the ship was destroyed, any surviving crew committed suicide. In fact, the corporate policy encouraged this outcome as shown in the excerpt selection of Crewkin on this blog's excerpt page.

I hope you can sense Renna's emotion in these six paragraphs (actually seven — I'm pretending I can't count) from a little further on in her journey.
~ * ~
Renna swallowed the painful gasp swelling in her throat, ignoring those regarding her exit. Good kin performed joining before committing the heresy of desertion... so Markham taught. Their notice made her exit a judgment.

Renna stopped before the massive plasmetal hatch disguised as elaborately carved doors which defined the Markham Company boundary. Through a transparent section of the gate, Renna watched the norms crowding the space station's causeway. A memory of walking with her kin out of this portal flashed before her. They had left as a group. All dressed in their neat tan utility suits. All heads bore the same short blond hair, except for her. Dom Dukan demanded her head remain shaved to eliminate her unkin colored hair. She swiped her scalp, felt the prickle of growth, and swore to never again cut whatever grew. He could do nothing about her dom-matching height, or her colorless eyes. Markham Company had deemed his request to change her eye color frivolous.

The automatic portal to the astroport opened, closed, and opened again while she hesitated. Her kin had found leaving their ship Markham3 difficult; leaving Markham territory terrified them. Safe among her kin, Renna remembered her excitement for the chance to explore the space station alive with so much noise, so much color. Stepping through the doors, she remembered, how upon returning, Dom Dukan refused to leave Markham property again. She quashed the memory, refusing to look back. She would never return, no matter what.

Now everything looked gray. The resonance in the port swallowed individual sounds forming a cacophony of white noise, which created an odd noise construction of silence. Unfamiliar smells permeated the air, mixing into a repugnant strange atmosphere. The difference divorced her from any response as effectively as the hatch closing behind her severed her past life. With steady steps, she headed for the station's main concourse.

She focused on the people. Some stood, turning their heads to read signage, looking for their direction. Others talked in small groups. Often a jagged burst of laughter erupted around them. Still, others rushed, carrying, pulling or pushing packages, crates, or luggage.

People…strangers...norms, no matter what you called them...they crowded, jostled, and shouted in fast flung sounds she didn't understand. Each one appeared different in shape, size, color, and clothing. Their smell curled within her nose. Each seemed at once both self-absorbed and attentive, threading through one another's journey with little interest in other travelers. So different.
~ * ~
The story starts there!

Visit Ginger Simpson's Blog Miz Ginger for more Friday Freebits!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Character Takeover

This month's Round-Robin topic is about secondary characters taking over a story. I have to admit I have read stories where I found the secondary character more interesting than the main character or really wanted to read the story of the secondary character. It happens. I believe it has happened in one of my stories.

Magic Aegis was not the first book I wrote, but the first published. The idea was to have several strong women's viewpoints giving insight into the heroine's plight and help the reader understand plot implications the main character could not know. A great change was taking place in the country, Kaereya, and the heroine, Vesper, was symbolic of that change. Now, I don't believe there is anything wrong with Vesper as a character. She is intelligent, perceptive, loving, and courageous. She will show up in some Friday Freebits one of these days.

The Magic Aegis Series
However, when the mercenary Kissre and her horse Bother showed up, my perceptions changed. She kept telling me she was a soldier first and a mercenary from necessity; and yeah, she knew her problems, but those wouldn't affect her duty, her determination, her abilities, or her loyalties. She also knew her limitations, and she didn't give a damn what anyone else thought of her as a woman soldier in a male-dominated profession.

She entered as a minor character with a specific mission, and proceeded to kick everyone's ass, with deference if needed, including mine, but with weapons and skill if required. As an author, I had a character who took thought. Ultimately, she informed me, "No, that's not how I would do that, that's not how I would act. This is how..." With subtle suggestions, she changed the story. Kissre eventually saved the lives of the heroine, the hero, and the heroine's father without dominating the story or making it her own. Her obedience to her orders, especially mine to not overdo her presence, the differences that estranged her from the other characters' expectations, and her love for her animals, earned her the telling of her own story, Acceptance. Snippet paragraphs from her story have already been published in Friday Freebits, and her sister Tyna's story, Change, just finished yesterday. While Change takes place before Acceptance, it wasn't written or published until after — not until Tyna informed me that her side of the family argument needed telling — another character takeover.

What I learned was sometimes a writer can introduce an unexpected character whose personality is stronger than those of the main characters. What matters is the story, so use them but control them, too. Hopefully their presence will make the story more believable and increase the reader's enjoyment.

Be sure to check out the blogs of the following writers to read their take on secondary characters taking over. Enjoy!
Marci Baun
Anne Stenhouse
Fiona McGier
A.J. Maguire
Beverley Bateman
Diane Bator
Margaret Fieland
Victoria Chatham
Connie Vines
Geeta Kakade

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Tenth and last Friday Freebit from Change

The night's battle with insurgents is over, but for Tyna, the war is just beginning.

~ * ~
Tyna’s first coherent thought as she woke was to escape. The wagons—with the city devastated, the Talents exhausted—she could escape. Once on the road, she could hide from any mental trackers, control what other minds saw. It is hard to hide a caravan. They could bypass the cities and large villages where all Talents dwelled. It was the best option; only Kedriq and Dovel knew her. She peeked out the small window.

Light crested the eastern peaks, rimming the mountains with lines of gold. Clouds shimmered in pearly pink, already under the sun’s influence. To the west a gray sheath of frothing clouds rose high into the sky, ready to cover the rising sun. Icicles hung from the wagon’s roof. Inside felt colder, too. She dressed warmly and wrapped a heavy cloak around her. Rising, she stepped out of her wagon’s door and descended the three steps to the ground, ready to wake Jebe. She turned in a circle, confused and then expelled a breath she didn’t know she held.

The other two wagons, all the oxen, and Jebe, were gone. A gasp of awareness left her breathless. Tears prickled her eyes as the betrayal stabbed her heart. Then she fell back against the wagon’s side, laughing helplessly. In trance, her attention inside the city, she had missed everything that had happened around her. She wrapped her arms around her body.

She had noticed Jebe’s growing fear. He avoided her, held only the briefest conversations with her. He had guessed why all the Talents visited, and afraid had fled. Could she blame him? She stepped to the back of her wagon, sank onto the bottom step and waited.

Sometime later Sussi and Tam arrived, somehow already privy to Jebe’s desertion. Tyna stepped away from the wagon, already sensing approaching Talents. She knew she had only a few minutes left.

Sussi hugged her. Tyna ran fingers over her face to wipe away her tears.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

All Things Three

On to my gleanings about the prophetic, divination, and quirky nature of three! From 'two's company, three's a crowd' to 'and baby makes three,' this number shows a wide spectrum of possibilities.

Three can be holy or it can be a curse. These are some of its forms:
Cardinal: three

Hindu-Arabic: 3
Ordinate: Third
Pythagorean numbers: the triad
Roman: III
Roman: Tres or Tertius is the Roman word for three and gives us the words tertiary and trey.
Greek's tris (Sanskrit tri) gives us many words of '3' like triad, triangulate, triathlon, triceps, tricolored, tricorn, tricuspid, tricycle, trident, triform, trifurcate, trimester, trinity, trilogy, triplets, tripod, and triceratops.

From geometry, we have triangles connecting three points and three lines, and while pyramids look triangular, they actually have four sides squared with a fifth as the base, but a composite of angles with three dimensions of length, width, and depth. In astronomy, the Earth is the third planet from the sun, and the only one we know for sure has life; three times is the charm! In biology, insects have a head, thorax, and abdomen. The table of elements in chemistry lists Lithium (Li) as the element with atomic number 3. Chemistry also gives us TNT (trinitrotoluene) and Nitroglycerin (trinitroglycerin), so three can be very explosive! One early form of transportation was the Triga, a chariot drawn by three horses. We pedal tricycles and soon might see three wheel cars. In architecture, a triforium, or arched gallery, is often found running the length of the nave in cathedrals.

Color systems often break colors into triads for mixing purposes. In art, the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow; secondary colors are green, purple, and orange. The CYMK color system uses cyan, magenta, and yellow. The RGB color system uses red, green, and blue.

March is the third month, named after the Roman god Mars, the god of war and chaos, but it is also tied to agriculture. History shows many soldiers were farmers for most of the year but called to do battle in March (this duty month later became May under Charlemagne). The third day of the week (when Sunday is the first day on the week's calendar) is Tuesday, named after the Norse god Tyr, who was the god of single combat, and who is tied to the Roman God Mars. Traditionally, though, the week ends on Sunday, making Wednesday the third day of the week. Calendars have a tradition of causing confusion. During the Medieval era through the Renaissance, society had the threes estates: the nobles, the clergy, and the commoners. Today we have the one-percenters, politicians, and the greater masses. A few generations ago, we had the Third Reich, which showed three's evil.

Socially, families should include a father, a mother, and a child or children, which establishes three as another number of family and relationships, In numbers the combination of one and two, father and mother, to create the child, three, and make the family, which establishes three a number of completion.

Games and sports contain many instances of three such as three of a kind in poker. Triathlons include swimming, biking, and running. To start the race, the starter might say, “1, 2, 3, Go!” This makes three the 'go' number.

We have three-legged races and three-gaited show horses (the three basic gaits walk, trot, canter). In baseball, if your get three strikes you’re out, three outs and your side retires, a three-base hit is a good thing which get a runner to the third plate but not home.

Christians believe in the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Third Commandment is ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in Vain.’ Three was an important number in the Bible as there were three wise men, three kings, the cock crowed trice, Peter denied Christ three times. So three can be a number of betrayal. Three crosses were at the crucifixion, and Christ rose on the third day. Three appears often in Revelation:

  • Revelation 8:13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"
  • Revelation 9:18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.
  • Revelation 16:13 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
  • Revelation 16:19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed.
  • Revelation 21:13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.

Druids believed three was number of the unknown God. Hindus have the Trimurti, the Gods Brahma, Vishnus, and Siva; and Buddhism has the Three signs of Being.

Astrological threes include the House of Gemini guided by the planet Mercury. It is considered the house of intellect and the mind. In numerology, the letters of three are c, l, u (again letters are counted 1 through 9 — usually to establish a person's number by adding the numbers of the letters of their name). Three is the number of time and fate as shown in past, present and future, making three a number of wisdom. Man learns from the past, lives in the present, and plans for the future. In learning, three represents the curriculum of music, geometry, and astrology, but during the Renaissance students were taught the Trivium or grammar, logic, and rhetoric. As the number of the Trinity, it is a holy number. It is a holy number that represents completeness in family as represented in man, woman, and child, and shows both spiritual and sexual power in procreation. Therefore it symbolizes continuity and life. It also resolves the conflict posed between one and two by creating another so that three indicates change or a solution is at hand. Pythagoreans didn't consider 1 and 2 numbers so for them, three became the first odd number.

Three has a negative side, too. When three is against you, it shows incompleteness, divorce, separation, child abduction, an individual lacking sexual desire, and barrenness.

The empress or Earth mother, another aspect of the goddess of love, or Venus, is the third card in Tarot Divination. She bears the fruit of the virgin's promise. She represents the seeds, or ideas sown in the unconscious. As a powerful woman, she also symbolizes material wealth, marriage, fertility for would-be parents, farmers, and people in creative arts. If reversed or not in good placement with other cards, the Earth mother may mean infertility, dissipation, loss of wealth, sometimes by destruction of famine or war. The reversed card can also predict family problems.

Three has several iconic symbols: the trident, the three-leafed clovers, and the triangle.

In literature, folk lore, performance, and art:
  • Triptych (3 part painting)
  • Trilogy – a three volume set of books
  • Three graces, Three fates, Three Questions of the Sphinx, mythology
  • Three Penny Opera
  • Three Musketeers
  • Three Pigs, Three Billy Goat Gruffs, and Three Bears, in folktales
  • Music: Rub-a-dub-dub, Three Men in a Tub; Three Blind Mice
  • Larry, Moe & Curly

Common Triads include:
  • Beginning, middle, end
  • Body, soul, spirit
  • Earth, sea, sky
  • Father, mother, son
  • Father, Son, Holy Ghost
  • Fish, flesh, fowl
  • Length, width, height
  • Liberty, equality, fraternity
  • Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
  • Man, woman, child
  • Milk, wine, honey
  • In Psychology: Ego, super-ego, id
  • Reading, writing, arithmetic
  • Reduce, recycle, reuse
  • Sun, moon, stars

Common phrases:
  • 3-R’s
  • accidents (deaths) come in three
  • giving someone the third degree
  • good (or bad) things come in threes
  • leaves of three, let it be (poison ivy)
  • odd man out
  • third wheel
  • three chances
  • three sheets to the wind
  • three wishes
  • threesome
  • three-in-one
  • three-ring circus
  • three-day weekend
  • triage
  • two’s company, three’s a crowd
So there it is — all aspects of three, but certainly a list that is not all-inclusive.
~ * ~
Wikipedia has a page on Three. Sources Some information was drawn from:
The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin
A Complete Guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray
The Numerology Workbook by Julia Line
The Dartmouth Number Symbolism in the Middle Ages site offers much info on numbers in Christianity.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ninth Friday Freebit from Change

Tyna arrives in the capital city of Cygna just as rebellion breaks out.

~ * ~

Tyna covered her head with a pillow to dispel both the physical and the mental noise. The densely packed down filling diminished neither the sound nor her sense of the city’s turmoil.

The streets of Sidih seethed with nocturnal activity. She cursed her luck at arriving during some sort of rebellion. Sussi and Tam slept at the wagon maker’s within the city and Jebe prowled the local taverns, worrying Tyna more than being left alone with the wagons. His defection added to her sleeplessness.

She had avoided her night soirees since entering Sidih, but tonight the compulsion jerked her from her bed. Her skin itched, and her nightclothes pulled and dragged at her every movement. Her blankets twisted and tied about her, making it impossible to relax. She couldn’t expose herself, not here. She couldn’t. She must. She wouldn’t. But she had to, even though it was dangerous.

Thoughts ran through her mind like a litany. “Discipline makes you strong in moments of weakness,” Naomi had always said, telling her to resist initial urges. A second memory came of Naomi using the same phrase just after she had slapped Kissre’s face when she was caught stealing a shirt. Naomi would not listen to any excuse. The memory chilled Tyna, but the advice remained.

The shock and pain of an unexpected attack brought her to upright. Rising, she hurriedly pulled on her clothes and prepared to protect her wagons if need be. Unbidden, her Talent freed, seeking the recognition it sensed nearby. Armed men ran through the tavern district, home to Cygna’s poor, home to many who preyed on the weak and the impaired. Squad platoons, soldiers guided by Talents roamed the area.

Energy threaded the atmosphere as her gift flew over the city. Before she clearly discerned him, she sensed Kedriq. He worked in bond with his squad, giving off a discolored aura that made her both cringe and crave closer contact.

::Stop! What are you doing! Who are you?::.

~ * ~

Friday, August 8, 2014

Eighth Friday Freebit from Change

Tyna's caravan travels through Cygna, the land of witches, which she now knows are called 'Talents.'

~ * ~
Everywhere she had traveled the business of daily life had blurred her sense of the many active minds surrounding her. In Cygna, there existed a unique quiet. Even the ungifted contained their mental spread except at close range, and then random thoughts were often pushed, unwanted, into her awareness. She knew the nulls emptied their minds, concentrated on a physical task whenever a Talent appeared. It kept their surface thoughts in check. She supposed the trick a thing compelled until habit formed.

The strange stillness allowed her tension-heightened awareness to sense the tendrils of ‘Talent’ hovering around her. It took little effort to identify the source or to notice the emblems sewn on their sleeve, or how vastly different those few were treated. She watched how they seemed to share hidden communication, moving in unison; sometimes their heads swiveled to find another of their kind in an otherwise unnoticeable approach. Occasionally, a Talent looked over her goods, dismissing her with a single aloof glance. While the Talent’s attitude spooked Jebe, Sussi, and Tam, it only made Tyna feel discounted and unimportant.

She remarked on their behavior to a ‘null’ customer.

“They deserve our respect and veneration for their service and devotion to Cygna,” the woman said, while her skittish eyes surveyed the surrounding area. Seeing no Talents around, she glanced at Tyna before she lowered her voice to add, “Do not touch them or look them in the eye. It is their entry into your soul.”

“I thought they could enter a mind at will.”

“A few can, but it is forbidden without permission. If you touch and bond, though, they cannot help but take your thoughts.”

~ * ~ 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Seventh Friday Freebit from Change

Imyne, the hidden enemy, uses her position on the council and in the meeting with Kedriq for her own use. In these six paragraphs, the hidden enemy enters.

~ * ~
“You are right,” Imyne spoke aloud to Alth. “The Kaereyans have little we can use.” Satisfaction calmed Imyne’s last worries. Governor Vitann’s ill-judged efforts had floundered.

“More likely, we have little they can use. Until at least, the new king is ready to confer with a delegation,” Vitann said.

Behind her calm face, despairing thoughts entered Vitann’s mind. The Governor’s mind reflected on the number of ships anchored in the harbor and the prevalent dark blue of Kaereya’s Royal Guard on streets lining the docks. The country of Kaereya was rich but troubled. Imyne gleaned these thoughts filtering through the governor’s mind. She doubted any other Adept could hear those sequestered, speculative thoughts, and Imyne wondered at Vitann’s purpose. It was clear Vitann found Kedriq’s views of the turmoil unexpected and unwelcome. No help would come from Kaereya.

Vitann’s persistence in the Kaereyan matter angered Imyne. There was no reason to ally with a land of nulls. It diminished further Imyne’s estimate of the woman’s governing ability. Cygna didn’t need Kaereya. It needed a zealous and intelligent leader.

Perhaps the Governor feared Kaereya would align with Pertelon to conquer Cygna? Imyne inhaled sharply but dismissed Vitann’s preoccupation with Cygna’s neighbors. Cygnese Talent squads could out-maneuver ordinary fighting men. Cygna had more important dangers to face than the Pertelonese and Kaereyan nulls offered. Cygna’s null population needed quelling, even eliminating if necessary. Vitann failed to grasp the importance of protecting Talents. Fury at the Governor’s perverseness filled Imyne. If they followed Vitann’s present course, Cygna could fall back into the chaos rampant in the time before Talents secured the government.

Dismissing her peers’ questions on aspects of Kedriq’s journey, Imyne inspected Kedriq. He must have cleaned up since his arrival, but she knew he had not seen Brenna. So Vitann must have offered him hospitality. His soft gray quilted tunic fell to his knees. Blond hair, bleached lighter by the more intense sun of Kaereya, contrasted with a tan that made him appear like an outlander. He was either effectively masking his emotions, or so dispirited, he felt none.

~ * ~